LOS ANGELES –Paul Goldschmidt fought through an 11-pitch at-bat against Dodgers closer Brandon League and got a huge payoff at the end.
Goldschmidt hit a tiebreaking, two-run homer in the ninth inning and the Arizona Diamondbacks beat the Dodgers 5-3 on Tuesday night, sending last-place Los Angeles to its sixth straight defeat.
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League (0-2) walked Gerardo Parra to open the ninth and struck out Didi Gregorius. Goldschmidt fouled off five full-count pitches before driving his seventh home run into the left-field pavilion.
“When you get a chance to win the game, you want to come through for your team,” Goldschmidt said. “Once we got to 3-2, he threw me five fastballs and I was just trying to fight them off. He’s got that really good slider and split-finger, so I was trying to make sure that in case he threw that to just step back a little bit.”
Three nights earlier, League gave up a game-ending homer by Guillermo Quiroz in a 10-9 loss to the Giants.
“Top of the ninth, tie game at home is pretty much a save situation. You’ve got to hold the game so you can walk `em off in the bottom of the ninth,” League said. “My plan was to get Goldschmidt to ground into a double play. That’s an example of what happens when you throw a (lousy) pitch. Mechanics are not the issue right now. I’m not all over the strike zone. I’m just not executing what I need to execute.”
David Hernandez (2-2) pitched a scoreless eighth for the win. Arizona closer J.J. Putz left with stiffness in his right elbow after issuing a leadoff walk in the ninth to Nick Punto, but Heath Bell got three outs for his second save after getting all the time he needed to warm up.
“I think the last time that happened to me was in 2010, when I came in for Mike Adams after he felt something in his elbow,” Bell said. “But tonight I had been warming up at that time to go in the game anyway if it was tied after nine. And as soon as I saw that something was going on, I got back up on the mound and started firing again.”
Putz will be re-evaluated on Wednesday. If he is sidelined for any amount of time, at least the Diamondbacks have a bona fide closer to fill in. Bell averaged 44 saves during a three-year stretch with San Diego, including a career-high 47 in 2010, and made the All-Star team in each of those seasons.
“They brought me in to help out if J.J. needed a day off or if David needed a day off,” Bell said. “I mean, you never want to see anybody hurt. But unfortunately, if he has to take some time on the DL, I think myself and David can fill in real nicely.”
Los Angeles starter Josh Beckett gave up three runs and nine hits in six innings with five strikeouts and two walks. The no-decision kept the three-time All-Star winless through his first seven starts of a season for the first time in his 13-year career. He is 0-4 with a 5.80 ERA.
Punto, the Dodgers’ light-hitting utility man, homered and drove in the tying run with a seventh-inning double.
Beckett was trailing 3-2 and heading for his 100th career loss when Punto got him off the hook with a drive to the alley in right-center against Brandon McCarthy. It scored Skip Schumaker all the way from first base after his leadoff walk — the only one allowed by McCarthy. The right-hander gave up three runs and eight hits over 6 1-3 innings and struck out three.
Punto’s second-inning homer, his first with the Dodgers, gave him as many through the first 32 games as slugger Matt Kemp, who hit a career-high 39 two years ago. Punto extended his home run streak to 12 consecutive seasons — nine of which he has had only one. In 998 major league games he has homered 16 times in 2,818 regular-season at-bats, including a career-high four in 2005 with Minnesota.
“I’ve seen him do that before. Unfortunately for him, it hasn’t happened too many times,” said Arizona outfielder Jason Kubel, who played with Punto for seven seasons in Minnesota. “He hits balls hard in BP, so I know it’s there. He knows he can.”
The Diamondbacks scored a run in each of the first two innings, only to see the Dodgers respond with a run in the bottom half both times. Punto tied it 2-all, driving a 3-2 pitch into the lower seats in the right-field corner and snapping a home run drought of 157 at-bats since his previous one on June 2, 2012, against Toronto’s Carlos Villanueva.
Beckett gave up a leadoff hit in each of the first five innings, including doubles by Parra in the first and Eric Chavez in the second. Parra scored on Goldschmidt’s groundout and Chavez came home on Kubel’s single.
Arizona regained the lead in the fifth when Gregorius led off with a single, Goldschmidt walked and Chavez came through with an RBI single.
NOTES: This was the first time in his big league career that Punto hit a home run before June. … Utility man Jerry Hairston Jr., who sustained a groin injury during Saturday’s game at San Francisco, joined SS Hanley Ramirez, LHP Ted Lilly, RHP Chad Billingsley and RHP Zack Greinke on the Dodgers’ disabled list. The move is retroactive to May 6 because Hairston pinch-hit on Sunday. … Los Angeles INF-OF Elian Herrera was recalled from Triple-A Albuquerque. The versatile Herrera played six positions in his 67 games with the big club last season. … Arizona 3B Martin Prado, 0 for 10 against Beckett, wasn’t in the starting lineup for the second time in the team’s first 32 games. He pinch-hit in the eighth and was intentionally walked.